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Activists visiting arafat arrested

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Mar 31, 2002

Foreigners Who Visited Arafat Arrested by Israeli Military
The Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) - Thirteen foreign peace activists who walked by Israeli troops surrounding Yasser Arafat's West Bank office and visited the besieged Palestinian leader were later arrested, the military said Monday.

Dozens of peace activists, their arms raised and carrying white flags, walked past Israeli troops, ignoring their orders to stop. Arafat , trapped in his office by the encircling Israeli forces, greeted them with hugs.

When they left, some from the group tried to smuggle wanted Palestinians with them, said Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland, chief of Israeli military operations, at a news conference.

The Israeli military spokesman's office said 13 of the activists were detained by soldiers after they left Arafat's office in the West Bank town of Ramallah and were turned over to Israeli police. The 13 are being held in a lockup.

The military said they could face charges for violating a military order closing the area of Arafat's compound to civilians.

Angered and embarrassed, the Israeli government widened its closure ordered and declared the entire town of Ramallah a closed military area, ordering all foreigners, including reporters, to leave.

AP-ES-03-31-02 2211EST

This story can be found at :

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